SPE Industry Update
Jun. 18, 2014

Wind energy processing technologies steadily advancing
By Don Rosato
Wind energy designs increasingly depend on plastics processing and design technologies. Plastic parts and components are extensively used in all major sectors of wind energy generation, and processing developments in blade manufacturing and service are advancing rapidly. The primary drivers in wind turbine development are power generation and cost. The engineering challenge has been to develop a longer wind turbine blade that will produce more power output without increasing blade weight, the load on the turbine or the costs for transportation to and assembly at the wind farm site.More

Facile exfoliation of graphite for preparation of polypropylene/graphite nanocomposites
SPE Plastics Research
As the strongest material ever measured, graphene represents an attractive modifier for polymer materials. Due to possible advantages in cost and efficiency, a method to enable the mechanical preparation of polymer/graphene nanocomposites without chemically treating graphite, the natural source of graphene, is highly desirable.More

European plastics industry shows positive growth
European Plastics News
PlasticsEurope, a large European trade organization, reports that European plastics production for 2013 showed steady positive development. The organization states that the global production volume of plastics has risen by 3.9 percent from 288 million tons in 2012 to 299 million tons in 2013. China leads with 24.8 percent of the global volume, with Europe ranking in second place with 20 percent of the world's total plastics production in 2013.More

Report: 3-D printing makes headway into the heart of US manufacturing
3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is showing signs of triggering transformations in U.S. industrial manufacturing, from product design and production to restructured supply chains, according to a report recently released by PwC U.S. in conjunction with The Manufacturing Institute.More

How a villager turns plastic waste into artificial limbs
The Star, Kenya
One man in Eldoret town, Kenya, is collecting plastic waste and turning it into valuable products. John Macharia Kamau, who lives in Yamumbi in the outskirts of Eldoret, now makes prosthetic legs, arms, stools, engraved tablets (plaques) and plates among other products. Macharia collects the plastic waste in Kipkenyo dumpsite in the outskirts of Eldoret town every day. He then put the plastics into a metal tin and smelts them into hot liquid.More

Wind energy processing technologies steadily advancing
By Don Rosato
Wind energy designs increasingly depend on plastics processing and design technologies. Plastic parts and components are extensively used in all major sectors of wind energy generation, and processing developments in blade manufacturing and service are advancing rapidly. The primary drivers in wind turbine development are power generation and cost.More

Flexible packaging set for growth in North America
European Plastics News
PCI Films Consulting says that the North American and European flexible packaging markets, which currently stand at $20.7 billion and $16.4 billion respectively, already nearly account for half of the global consumer flexible packaging market of $76 billion. PCI notes, however, that the growth in North America is moving much more rapidly than that in Europe, with growth in North America at around 4 percent per year, which is twice as fast as the growth seen in Europe in the past year.More

3-D printing is revolutionizing construction and design fields
By Renee Eaton
Additive manufacturing — or 3-D printing as it often called — is a process in which a solid object is made when a CAD model directs the printer to apply hundreds to thousands of successive layers in the required shape. This method is in direct contrast to traditional (subtractive) manufacturing, which begins with a block or billet of material that is then cut away until the desired piece is obtained.More

Better understanding of plastics opens way to new batteries
The Daily Fusion
Scientists at McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science have combined two traditional theories in materials science that can explain how the charge dictates the structure of the material. This opens the door for many applications, including a new class of batteries. A lithium-based battery has a major disadvantage: It's highly flammable, and when it overheats, it can burst into flames.More

Plastics may not tame the beasts, but they tackle the environment at the zoo
Plastics News
Visitors to England's Chester Zoo will be reading about the animals on signage using recycled plastics in place of plywood. The maintenance team at the zoo in Upton-By-Chester has opted to use Stokbord made by Centriforce Products Ltd. of Liverpool, England, from recycled film and bottles using high density polyethylene and low density PE, for the backing on its signs throughout animal enclosures.More

Ford is looking into making car parts out of tomato parts
Heinz Ketchup and Ford Motor Company have formed an unlikely partnership to research the uses of tomato fiber in automotive plastic, the companies recently announced. The research into how dried tomato skins could be used in vehicles is part of Ford's effort to enhance fuel economy by lightening its vehicles. The material could be used in parts such as wiring brackets or storage bins.More

Polymers find use in engine transmissions
Engineering Materials
After some initial research, BPG teamed up with polymer material suppliers Victrex and U.S.-based China Array Plastics. BPG Werks chose to specify a high-performance polymer to replace the brass as it was able to provide all the mechanical performance necessary, and was likely to be able to cope with the demanding applications the dual tracked vehicle would be put up against. Engineering plastic has the additional advantage of being easily processed in a cost effective manner.More

Reinventing the Mason jar, in plastic, for a new generation
Plastics News
Today, original Mason jars are prized collectibles. They also are inspiring a new generation of jars that would have Grandma asking, "What’s the world coming to?" One of the companies behind the Mason jar's revival is Cool Gear International. "It's really an iconic shape," says David Conrad, creative director for Cool Gear. "Just by taking the top off, it became a drinking vessel.” That happens to be Cool Gear's specialty.More

Canopy to save you from falling glass at airport
The New Indian Express
Falling panes of glass at the airport have met their match. In a bid to thwart the innumerable panes, doors, sheets and other forms of glass that have been falling and crashing at regular intervals, Airports Authority of India has decided to provide an "overhead" cover. A proposal has been floated to extend the canopies over entry gates 1-4 of the domestic terminal's departure level by 2 meters to "protect passengers from falling glass."More

Turning bioplastics into child's play
Plastics News
Hong Kong-based product development firm Bioserie started with the ambitious goal of building a consumer brand around bioplastics. Jump forward four years, and the business hasn't lived up to expectations. But the small company hopes a shift to toy manufacturing can change that. In May it launched what it says is the world's first line of infant toys made entirely from plant-based polylactic acid and additives.More

World Cup teams to wear plastic bottles
Plastics Today
As you relax on your couch or in your local bar watching the various World Cup games, be sure to pay close attention to some of the kits (aka uniforms) to see a cool usage of recycled plastic bottles. For instance, the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team will compete in Brazil this year in a "deeply patriotic" new away kit. The shirt, shorts – and for the first time in a national team kit, the socks – all feature fabric made from recycled plastic bottles (100 percent recycled polyester in the shorts, 96 percent recycled polyester in the shirt and 78 percent in the socks).More

The science behind Brazil's 2014 football revealed
Daily Mail
No matter which stars are on show or which teams are competing, one thing will stay constant at this year's World Cup – the ball. Unveiled by Adidas, the so-called "Brazuca" is the official ball of Brazil 2014 and it's the 12th ball Adidas has made for the World Cup. And now the science inside the ball has been revealed to show how the best players in the world will have the best technology in the world on the pitch.More

3-D printed prosthetics: Long-term hope for amputees in South Sudan
The Guardian
In November 2013, Mick Ebeling left his home in Venice Beach, California for the Nuba Mountains in South Sudan. His aim? To meet a young double amputee named Daniel Omar and print him a prosthetic arm. Since then, Project Daniel has been covered by much of the world's media. The Guardian caught up with the entrepreneur to ask what impact the innovation is having in Sudan and how Ebeling's background in advertising is informing his efforts to use "technology for the sake of humanity."More